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There’s a process to a night with someone you’re dating. It starts with the passionate ruffling of sheets. Two bodies becoming one. Two minds hoping the condom doesn’t break. Then there’s the awkward yet caring, “Did that feel good?” test. She proceeds to nail her response with an enthusiastically vague, “It always feels good.” Then there’s the sprint to the bathroom. A race against UTI time as condom and sexual juices combine to fill the air with the smell of wet nickels. Then the two parties dress in matching shorts and t-shirts, as if to say, “Lets be twins for the night so not knowing one another’s middle names doesn’t feel weird.” Then you take your positions. Her ass to your crotch. Your arm under her neck. Your other arm over her side perfectly placed between “you got a bit creepy” Boob Town and “you’re making me want to start purging” Stomachville. And then you both let out a relaxed sigh. Hers, because she knows she’s getting the Cadillac of sleeps: the cuddle. Yours, because you’ll be lucky to get even an hour. But you march on. You shut your eyes, clench your anus, and wait for your chance to escape big spoon status to a corner of the bed that dogs would look down on.
I had a girl sleepover last night. I know I really shouldn’t be bragging, but let me brag. Let me tell you something about the J-Train: I’m a great cuddler. I’m a cuddling perfect storm (#blessed). My body is muscular, but marbled with enough fat to be like a memory foam pillow that likes to eat wings on weekends and crushes a medium-paced gym routine. I have the ability to go from “I’m here to protect you” hard to “Let’s talk about your feelings” soft (yes, I’m talking about my penis). I also want to be liked. Look at the makeup of any comedian, and they have a need to be liked unparalleled in any other profession. So you, sir, may have cuddling talent, but do you have the cuddling commitment? I have that.
I’m constantly doing the little things. Fingers down the side tickle-scratches that make a girl get goosebumps like she just called her third grade teacher “Mom.” Thighs being placed between thighs like how a nurse would place a pillow to keep your spine aligned. Michael Jordan played every game hard because he knew that could be one kid’s only chance to see him play live. This is the commitment I make to cuddling, and honestly, I want my turn.
Last night, I took my chance.
I rolled to my left and folded into the fetal position. It felt so wrong, yet so right. I began to search with my hand for hers. I found it and gently tugged. I whispered, “Get over here,” like if Mortal Kombat created a gay Scorpion character. I placed her hand over my chest and backed in. And for a few glorious minutes, I was there. Inside spoon. The land of plenty. Comfort isn’t the word. This was bliss. My heart slowed to what could have been one beat per minute. I could feel the heat off of her groin like it was a heated seat made by God. I was a man and a baby all at once. Dream achieved. But it wouldn’t last long. I could tell she didn’t feel right. Her hand was searching for new spots on my chest. Her leg was somehow over my waist as if she felt like something had to be done. It all felt wrong. Her panicked breathing showed her confidence in me as a man was collapsing. She whispered into my ear, “Are you feeling okay?” I tried to play it off with a “totes,” but that didn’t make me any more manly. She backed away. She rolled to her side. The rest of the night wasn’t the same. I was in the bed with her physically, but mentally she was wondering if I’d take her last name.
I got into a discussion a week ago with a friend about a guy she was dating. She complained that he never made a plan. He never said, “This is what we are doing Saturday night.” He was just passive. I felt like it was unfair. Why should the guy have to make the plan every time? Why can’t we live in 50/50 world where inside spoon status can be had by all? But life isn’t fair. We all want to be men and attract women. But we can’t go out and prove our manhood by killing a boar or by finding a cave to keep our family warm. Gender roles may be changing, but the laws of attraction stay the same. Making a plan shows a girl you know what you want and that you possess the ability to provide. Every day we hear about making things more equal, and that sounds good until you’re a girl splitting the check with the guy who wore his scarf the whole date. Cuddling is a metaphor for life. Sometimes you’ll get the inside spoon, and your dreams will be achieved. But sometimes you need to have a numb arm to be a man.